To avoid the "RUST", RAGDOLL is rocking their way across the world at a furious pace.
TRR: Hi guys. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
RD: Thank you for having us.
TRR: Ragdoll. The name makes me think of Aerosmith. What is the origin of your band’s name?
RD: We’re delving into the past now! Ragdoll was the first name out of about 1000 we tried that we all went “well we don’t hate that” so it stuck. We can all thank Cam (drums) and his ragdoll cat for the inspiration.
TRR: It always seems to work out like that. It's like trying to find an old photo that you put in a box. You either find it in the first box or you rummage through several and find it in the last one. Cool that it was the first name you came up with. "Bam! Got it. Let's go record!"
TRR: Who are the guys in the band?
Ryan Rafferty - vocals and bass, Cam Barrett - drums, Leon Todd - guitar
TRR: How did all of you meet? Any interesting stories here?
RD: Myself (Leon) and Cam had been playing together for a few years when we met Ryan, who was playing in a cover band at the time. His voice and style absolutely floored us and it just so happened that we all had similar influences as players as well as similar backgrounds as people.
TRR: How would you classify your music? (rock, hard rock, metal, post grunge, southern rock, etc.)
RD: I’ve found with Ragdoll you can ask this question to a dozen different people and get a dozen different answers. People who love hair Metal will say we’re grungy, people who love straight up rock will call us progressive, people who don’t listen to rock will say we’re heavy and people who love metal will call us “old school” - whatever that means. I guess it’s hard rock but you could easily just invent a new genre like “stiff wood” and describe us that way.
TRR: What do you think makes your band stand out from others?
RD: Ryan’s voice is really one of a kind, and the way we bring together seemingly disparate influences into something that sounds like Ragdoll.
TRR: Over the past few decades, rock music has been given a back seat to rap, hip hop and the likes. How has that affected you guys?
RD: If anything rock music has being shunned by the mainstream has only been for the better - we play the music we play because we absolutely love it and for no other reason. If people come to our shows and listen to our music that’s even better. There’s no injustice in a style of music not being as popular as it once was, it’s just the way pop culture works.
TRR: You guys seem to have a classic and 70's hard rock sound. Who are some artists or bands that you feel influenced your sound?
RD: Obviously the “golden era” of guitar-based rock music from the late 60’s through to the early 90’s is massive for all of us, but we’re also big time fans of everything from Billy Joel and Steely Dan through to hip-hop and modern pop music. Anything with a great groove and a great hook fires us up.
TRR: All good music. Tell me about how you guys go about writing your songs. Do you all take part in the writing? Music, lyrics?
RD: I normally churn out demos in my home studio and send them to everyone, and when we get together to write we tend to pick our favourite of those and pull them apart. Some songs, like “Shine” or “Letting Go” on the last album, came together at the last minute in the studio while songs like playing “God” and “Rewind Your Mind” were songs we built up from scratch in rehearsal and road tested before recording.
TRR: If given the opportunity to work with some other artists, dead or alive, who comes to mind?
RD: Imagine getting the chance to work with Michael Jackson at the peak of his powers!
TRR: Interesting answer. I didn't expect that. He was great. What other bands would you like to tour with?
RD: The absolute dream would be to tour with KISS, because it’s KISS!
TRR: I'll take that! I'm a big fan of KISS also. What is your most memorable show, good or bad?
RD: There’s a lot of both, but the Rocklahoma Festival in 2016 (in Oklahoma, USA) stands out.
TRR: That was a great lineup. Scorpions, 5 Finger, Disturbed, Chevelle, Sevendust, Pop Evil, Saint Ansonia.
RD: Yeah, great lineup. We played after the Scorpions and had a massive crowd stay around to see us until the early hours of the morning - just mind blowing stuff.
TRR: That must have been a real thrill.
RD: Oh, most definitely.
TRR: You guys have played a lot of shows the past couple years. So, what would be your dream show?
RD: Anywhere all our friends and families could make it to at the same time. With a generous backstage rider of course.
TRR: Great answer. And, gotta love those riders!
TRR: What has been your craziest fan interaction?
RD: We’ve had a few fans get Ragdoll tattoos which is just A+ level of commitment.
TRR: What’s have you got lined up for the rest of the year?
RD: A few shows and some more recording before we gear up for Melodic Rock Fest in Melbourne at the start of next year.
TRR: Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout out to or thank you to?
RD: Our long-suffering families always deserve a mention, as do the companies that make our life touring and recording easy like Fractal Audio, Deviser and the excellent people at Firestarter Distribution and Bad Reputation.
TRR: Guys, thanks for taking the time for this interview. We're looking forward to hearing more of your music and hoping to see you here again in the states.
RD: Thank you!